A key focus of the OhioHealth effort has its Diabetes Prevention Program. Nearly 20 percent of OhioHealth's total healthcare dollars were spent addressing those with diabetes or who qualify as pre-diabetic.

Many Ohio Health employees spend every day on the job caring for patients.

Those employees have a harder time caring for themselves.

That was the discovery of the OhioHealth HR team in a 2013 survey that revealed 40 percent of the company's workforce knew what they needed to do to be healthier, but they did not spend the time to do it.

To address that need, the health system a year later created a variety of programs to incentivize behavior and save healthcare costs. Its results helped earn OhioHealth the award for HR Innovation.

"We knew we needed to tap into the drivers that would enact change for our associates," says Deanna Kraft, vice president of Total Rewards, wellbeing and HR operations. "We know we can't encourage patients to make a behavior change if we are not looking out for ourselves as well."

A key focus of the OhioHealth effort has its Diabetes Prevention Program. Nearly 20 percent of OhioHealth's total healthcare dollars were spent addressing those with diabetes or who qualify as pre-diabetic.

"We know when people become diabetic, their cost doubles," Kraft says. "One of the areas of focus we have as an organization is to go upstream to address chronic illnesses before they happen."

Originally based on a program developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, DPP lifestyle coaches help participants find strategies to encourage healthy living and weight loss. Associates can participate in onsite classes or, with OhioHealth partnerships, through an online program or through a local YMCA.

The result: Participants have lost more than 57,000 pounds, and many have seen a quantifiable health change.

Bob Klumpp, husband of an OhioHealth nurse, lost 36 pounds and took his blood sugar out of the pre-diabetic range.

"A big reason for this success is my lifestyle coach," Klumpp writes in a testimonial.

But DPP is not OhioHealth's only initiative. Last year it paid out $9.5 million in incentives, including discounts on healthcare and cash bonuses through the "Move and Improve" walking program. Employees and spouses earn $500 to walk and track their diets over time.

OhioHealth additionally reimburses entry for participation in 5Ks or marathons and for gym memberships.

The key, says Lisa Meddock, system director of benefits and wellbeing, is to individualize the programs and emphasize the need to all.

"Even our most senior leadership is promoting this … and sharing stories to help encourage people who are affected," she says. "Our mission is to improve the health of those we serve, so we have to start at home with (our) own associates. If we improve their lives, it will have a trickle-down effect, and they can improve the health of those around them."

Finalist:Doug Reys, Franklin International

When medical inflation hit 10 percent a year, Doug Reys knew he needed to show Franklin International employees that company benefits reflected more than just a medical plan.

The manager of compensation and benefits introduced a menu of innovative perks. That helped make him a finalist for HR Innovation.

Among the initiatives were a 529 plan match of up to $10,000 per family and a college textbook subsidy of up to $500 per year for employees' children. Franklin subsidizes the Honda Defensive Driving Course at Mid-Ohio Raceway for new drivers and offers top adoption benefits.

Diabetic medications and testing supplies are provided free, while Franklin also offers paternity leave. Reys bolstered the company's medical plan by introducing a zero-deductible tiered coinsurance program, an onsite health coach and a staffed fitness center.

On the horizon is a student loan program to help newly hired recent graduates better deal with student debt.